Budapest, November 7 (MTI) – The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) has demanded a probe by the Constitution Protection Office into foreigners granted residency bonds or visas after 2014.
DK wants national security screenings in light of news of the free entry into Hungary of Saudi businessman Ghaith Pharaon, wanted by America’s FBI agency on charges of terrorism and assisting illegal immigration, DK’s deputy leader Ágnes Vadai told a press conference on Monday.
Vadai recalled that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in parliament that Pharaon had been screened by the Hungarian authorities and no national security risks had been found in connection with him.
Vadai, a lawmaker who sits as an independent, said “I don’t know who poses a security risk if a former business partner of Osama Bin Laden doesn’t”, adding that the case suggested the total failure of Hungary’s secret services.
It is not known how many more people with Hungarian residency pose a security risk, she said. “If Ghaith Pharaon was not identified as one, there is a good chance that a potential terrorist can also slip through the net,” she added. Vadai insisted that to identify “how high up” the case went, all unscreened government members and lawmakers should be vetted.
Government office chief János Lázár said last week that the reason why the Hungarian authorities had not arrested Pharaon when he was in Hungary in 2015 was because Interpol had only confirmed that he was on its wanted list about six months ago. “If he came here right now then we would obviously arrest him,” Lázár said at the time.
In a statement, the interior ministry said that the Constitutional Protection Office had in every case screened residency bond applicants.
In its statement, the ministry said that in 1992 Interpol had issued a warrant for Pharaon using 11 different names, 4 different dates of birth and two places of birth. Nobody under any of those names had entered Hungary, the statement said.